prophetofDoom

ITS 9 game balance and enjoyment?

47 posts in this topic

I just took a first deeper look at ITS 8 missions. I want to play with someone who does not want to play 20x20 on Thursday, so I get to pick an ITS mission. We only want to play 200 points so we both can go to bed early. 

What strikes me is how often in those missions you get more points for using a TAG. This seems to be a bit wrong to me, considering that e.g. Ariadna only has limited access to TAGs and putting a TAG into a 200 pts force is not necessarily something everybody wants to do. 

I would like to play Looting and Sabotaging on Thursday (sounds like a nice rip-off from my "Destroy Beacon" scenario, lol). But fitting a TAG into my 200 point list? I haven't figured out yet how I can see which other troopers have antimateriel CC weapons. How do I do that with ease? The filter of Army builder did not give me that option for some reason. 

A second thing that struck me was that Veteran and Elite are the ones to kidnap HVTs. No problem with that per se, but I remember removing references to troop classifications from 20x20 because they don't appear on the army builder. I don't see this having changed. 

Can anyone please share their experience with ITS 9 in those regards?

Forgive me for being a bit cranky. I have not played Infinity for three weeks!

 

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Troop classifications appear on Army Builder on PC, I guess not on mobile. 

For missions like Deadly Dance or Show of Force, the TAG requirement, combined with the lack of access to TAGs by some factions (Ariadna mainly, also Steel Phalanx) is a problem. I'm planning out a tournament for the winter season and since I didn't want to run Soldiers of Fortune I consciously avoided those scenarios. 

Looting and Sabotaging, OTOH, does not really require TAGs - in fact, using a TAG's barehanded attacks to destroy the AC2 is almost certainly suboptimal. The best thing is high-PH troopers with EXP or DA CC weaps, or people like the Rasyat that can hit a D-Charge in melee with 100% accuracy (and can air drop near the target). Punching an armor 8 antenna with your PH 16 TAG will only score a STR point of damage 35% of the time - if you even hit. 

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Keep in mind also that with current style tournament scoring (which ITS missions will be designed for), there's no specific benefit for getting 10 out of 10 points in a scenario. To get the top score in any round of a tournament, you only need to beat your opponent by 5 points, whether that is 5-0, 10-5, or anything in between.

So no matter how you build your list, as long as you can score some points and prevent your opponent from scoring (the basic rule of scenario strategy), you can win full points in an ITS round. And if you're playing a one-off game/casual game, it doesn't really matter how many points you win by.

 

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ok great answers so far. I wish the army builder would remind us that DA and EXP CC weapons are also antimateriel. 

How about the enjoyment factor of ITS9 missions? One of the reasons I invented 20x20 was that I (and many others) didn't enjoy having to restrict my list options as much as ITS demanded.  ITS 9 seems to restrict the good  options even more. How do you feel about that? 

At the moment, I feel like I am getting back to the days that I was so disgruntled with ITS that I invented 20x20. The past two seasons I liked ITS, but atm I am not so sure anymore. I hope I will get over that feeling, which may be unfounded because I have not even tried it yet. I like the kidnapping mission for example and maybe I also like the data tracker. I just don't think that antimateriel should be a requirement and that TAGS need to be pushed that far. 

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7 minutes ago, prophetofDoom said:

ok great answers so far. I wish the army builder would remind us that DA and EXP CC weapons are also antimateriel. 

How about the enjoyment factor of ITS9 missions? One of the reasons I invented 20x20 was that I (and many others) didn't enjoy having to restrict my list options as much as ITS demanded.  ITS 9 seems to restrict the good  options even more. How do you feel about that? 

At the moment, I feel like I am getting back to the days that I was so disgruntled with ITS that I invented 20x20. The past two seasons I liked ITS, but atm I am not so sure anymore. I hope I will get over that feeling, which may be unfounded because I have not even tried it yet. I like the kidnapping mission for example and maybe I also like the data tracker. I just don't think that antimateriel should be a requirement and that TAGS need to be pushed that far. 

Really? That seems odd, as the Season 9 ITS seems to be pulling back from needing specialists as much as the last couple seasons, so the list composition should actually be more forgiving in general from what I've seen. This is coming from my perspective, however, and has an inherent bias to it: combine my main faction being Ariadna with how I build lists means that I assume from the get-go that I will never be able to score all points in a scenario due to, for example, one of my Classifieds coming up as Hacking, or something like that.

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19 minutes ago, prophetofDoom said:

How about the enjoyment factor of ITS9 missions? One of the reasons I invented 20x20 was that I (and many others) didn't enjoy having to restrict my list options as much as ITS demanded.  ITS 9 seems to restrict the good  options even more. How do you feel about that? 

At the moment, I feel like I am getting back to the days that I was so disgruntled with ITS that I invented 20x20. The past two seasons I liked ITS, but atm I am not so sure anymore. I hope I will get over that feeling, which may be unfounded because I have not even tried it yet. I like the kidnapping mission for example and maybe I also like the data tracker. I just don't think that antimateriel should be a requirement and that TAGS need to be pushed that far. 

Some of the missions are quirky, but it's just how Infinity works that you need to make lists tailored for the mission you're playing. Now we've got missions that key off of things like troop classification (Hunting Party) and whether or not you have antimaterial (The Grid, Looting & Sabotaging). Finally I can play in missions where I don't feel like both of my Malignos choices *must* be specialists to complete the mission, and where marker-state specialists that want to avoid interacting with the enemy as much as possible aren't the sole name of the game. 

Mostly I'm happy that Antenna Field is gone. 

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Ok I have to admit here that I have not studied the ITS9 missions as well as you have. Good to hear the plus side. Still have to check out how many missions need the specialists and how badly.

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea that Infinity  demands different troopers for different missions. 20x20 has aspects of that. I guess i have to admit here that I was a bit shocked about the antimateriel CC weapon requirement before you guys made me realise that d-charges and DA does the trick. Still not so sure whether that is so cool considering all armies in terms of balance. My approach with 20x20 is encouragement rather than enforcement.

I remember a BOW batrep where Carlos said about the panoplies that this is a casual mission and ITS does not have those random element. Seems to me that ITS9 has them more than ever before, and I am not a fan of that at all. The same applies to the cursed classified deck. 

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When the panoplies are used in ITS generally it doesn't matter what you get on the roll. You score by having used it more times, and whatever bonus item you get is just that, a bonus. In the Anti-materiel case that you are referring to with Loot and Sabotage, you can bring a list with no anti-materiel CC weapons, and still potentially score those points since any specialist that accesses the panoply can take D-Charges (without a random roll to determine what item is gained).

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23 minutes ago, macfergusson said:

When the panoplies are used in ITS generally it doesn't matter what you get on the roll. You score by having used it more times, and whatever bonus item you get is just that, a bonus. In the Anti-materiel case that you are referring to with Loot and Sabotage, you can bring a list with no anti-materiel CC weapons, and still potentially score those points since any specialist that accesses the panoply can take D-Charges (without a random roll to determine what item is gained).

It's a really suboptimal way to do things, though. 

30 minutes ago, prophetofDoom said:

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea that Infinity  demands different troopers for different missions. 20x20 has aspects of that. I guess i have to admit here that I was a bit shocked about the antimateriel CC weapon requirement before you guys made me realise that d-charges and DA does the trick. Still not so sure whether that is so cool considering all armies in terms of balance. My approach with 20x20 is encouragement rather than enforcement.

I've looked into it, and every sectorial has ways to complete that mission, though some of them are very different. You can spam D-Charge infiltrators, Rambo in with a TAG with an exp CC weapon, or any of a number of other ways. 

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I think the loot and sabotage mission looks interesting. Getting d-charges from the panoply and using it on the AC2 is very likely to be pretty difficult to pull off, you willl have to admit. 

I disagree to an extend that it does not matter what bonus item you get out of the panoply. It is very situational, but it is possible to get an item that by fluke completely turns the tide of the game due to a random table roll. On the other hand, yes, most often those items from the panoply do not get used. 

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3 hours ago, Hecaton said:

Looting and Sabotaging, OTOH, does not really require TAGs - in fact, using a TAG's barehanded attacks to destroy the AC2 is almost certainly suboptimal. The best thing is high-PH troopers with EXP or DA CC weaps, or people like the Rasyat that can hit a D-Charge in melee with 100% accuracy (and can air drop near the target). Punching an armor 8 antenna with your PH 16 TAG will only score a STR point of damage 35% of the time - if you even hit. 

Well Seraph want to disagree with you ;P (PH16 EXP CCW with CC20) (with possibility of B2 if your auxbot also attacks)

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2 minutes ago, Eciu said:

Well Seraph want to disagree with you ;P (PH16 EXP CCW with CC20) (with possibility of B2 if your auxbot also attacks)

Seraph has a sword. That's not punching lol. If your TAG has a DA or EXP CCW, totally different story. 

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6 hours ago, prophetofDoom said:

It is very situational, but it is possible to get an item that by fluke completely turns the tide of the game due to a random table roll. On the other hand, yes, most often those items from the panoply do not get used. 

I recall a mission of yours where depending on a random roll, may completely turn the tide of the game or do nothing. Panoplies on the other hand rarely change the game.

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44 minutes ago, Robock said:

I recall a mission of yours where depending on a random roll, may completely turn the tide of the game or do nothing. Panoplies on the other hand rarely change the game.

Which one is that? If you refer to making WIP rolls for scoring objectives, that is within the norm of Infinity and allows to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the factions. 

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15 minutes ago, prophetofDoom said:

Which one is that? 

Investigate Alien Artifact, you only score OP for investigating it. But when doing so you get a random roll that does change the game. Which works almost like Panoplies, you only need to open it to score OP but in doing so there is a chance you gain a useful bonus.

We played it in our club for... not sure a month theme, or a week theme, or a casual tournament. But across several games, it sometime change the game, and sometime doesn't. I really enjoyed that mission !

Permanent eclipse has a lasting effect in changing the game table LoF. A neutral Repeater give a huge boost in hacker vs HI/REM. SS2 does nothing. The last effect also depends a lot on circumstances : Removing a deployable and/or revealing Camo is nice, removing status or supportware is neutral; but removing an enemy placed permanent eclipse is hilarious.

The only problem i have with panoplies are exploits like using a g:synch which was costed appropriately for not having a weapon suddenly gaining a weapon. But models who already have a weapon rarely gets a game changing upgrade from it. I once got a MSR on my Zero FO, while a Zero MSR is nice, not that great when in the middle line of the table. ARM bonus rarely matters. CC related stuff depends on which trooper gets it and usually you are still better shooting on your way in.

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I actually really like that ITS missions are becoming more characterful and different from each other (like Hunting Party or Deadly Dance). IThe TAG-friendly missions are really cool.  love Rescue and Transmission Matrix, and hope we get more missions tat either minimize button-pushing or eliminate it altogether in favor of some more-interesting objective. I'd also like to see missions that use more interesting environmental rules, like the Hostile Environment rules from Paradiso (where bad rolls can actually kill your own troops, to represent them being bitten by carnivorous plants or eaten at by acid, etc.).

Yes, specific tasks beyond button-pushing or dude-killing mean that a bland average list may struggle with some missions. That's a feature not a bug in my opinion. A good TO will pick an interesting spread of missions, and a good player can find ways to excel at those missions given the choice of two alternate lists. When you know the spefici mission requirements ahead of time, you have the ability to make a list that can handle whatever it is.

The button-pushing missions that have been added recently are better than the old ones too: Power Pack is interesting because of the odd deployment zones and the fact that you can't hit all three middle antennae simultaneously, forcing you to choose a bit rather than flood all possible objectives with cheap specialists.

Here's hoping that CB does some more interesting things, like missions with hostile-to-all-parties defensive turrets (TR combis, for example), or something where you destroy all the terrain.

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17 minutes ago, Savnock said:

I actually really like that ITS missions are becoming more characterful and different from each other (like Hunting Party or Deadly Dance).

I agree, as long as tournies are good about announcing the scenarios ahead of time, because some require extensive list tailoring. 

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It's important not to evaluate ITS in the context of individual missions, but in terms of the overall experience.

For example, an ITS event will have 3 or 4 rounds, with 2 lists allowed.  So it's up to the Tournament Organizer to select missions that reward different styles, different factions, different approaches to the game.

If you select 4 missions that are all pretty similar, it's going to skew things one way or another.

If you pick a broad range of missions, then one faction (Ariadna, for example) might struggle a bit more in one round, but be rewarded in another.  

The TAG missions are fun because they actually encourage both players to bring TAG lists, for some fun robot combat action on both sides.  Outside of these missions, I haven't seen two players field a TAG against one another since the middle of N2, so I think it's fun to have missions that encourage players to step outside their comfort zones and try something new.

By the way, the mobile app does let you sort unit types.  It's under "Classifications" in one of the dropdown menus.  Select what you want, hit the check mark, and it will display all units of that category.  if a category isn't listed in the dropdown menu, it's because that army contains 0 of that unit type (which often happens in Sectorials.)

 

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1 hour ago, Barakiel said:

The TAG missions are fun because they actually encourage both players to bring TAG lists, for some fun robot combat action on both sides.  Outside of these missions, I haven't seen two players field a TAG against one another since the middle of N2, so I think it's fun to have missions that encourage players to step outside their comfort zones and try something new.

That's cool, but they need to put something in for factions/sectorials that don't have TAGs. 

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58 minutes ago, Hecaton said:

That's cool, but they need to put something in for factions/sectorials that don't have TAGs. 

Yeah, that does bug me just a tiny bit. My previous comments in here are a positive note/silver lining take, but it doesn't seem entirely fair even so.

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1 hour ago, macfergusson said:

Yeah, that does bug me just a tiny bit. My previous comments in here are a positive note/silver lining take, but it doesn't seem entirely fair even so.

For Looting & Sabotaging it's cool because punching it with a TAG is only one way to complete the main objective, and almost certainly not the best one. Different factions have different ways to approach it; Frenchies would probably run like 10 infiltrating metros with D-charges, as Onyx I have done it via ramboing with a Sphinx, MAF can do it with the entire Dat dojo, YJ could use ninjas...

But missions like Deadly Dance and Show of Force specifically deny people access to OPs if they don't have TAGs, which hurts some sectorials pretty bad. Even just keeping Scarface in would have ameliorated my worries quite a bit. 

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9 minutes ago, Hecaton said:

For Looting & Sabotaging it's cool because punching it with a TAG is only one way to complete the main objective, and almost certainly not the best one. Different factions have different ways to approach it; Frenchies would probably run like 10 infiltrating metros with D-charges, as Onyx I have done it via ramboing with a Sphinx, MAF can do it with the entire Dat dojo, YJ could use ninjas...

But missions like Deadly Dance and Show of Force specifically deny people access to OPs if they don't have TAGs, which hurts some sectorials pretty bad. Even just keeping Scarface in would have ameliorated my worries quite a bit. 

Yup, those types of missions specifically made me think Scarface AVA might have stayed more open after the season ended, but apparently not.

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Do most tournament organizers post missions sometime before the event? My local TO does that, it helps with this issue because people will build armies that are able to achieve the objectives each mission. Some sectorials that would entering a tournament blind might not be optimized for various missions anyways, so it helps with that too. I know it doesn't really fix the problem for Ariadna players who just play their faction and would be locked out of 3 to 6 objective points in that tournament, but it does warn players first which is a better step.

I play USAriadna, and to me it sucks now that I'll just be locked out of points if I play them with those mission sets. Luckily I also play Pan-O and Combine so I'd just switch out the faction. But I don't think it's good that those armies just aren't viable if you're looking to give yourself the best chance to win.

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It's part of the ITS guidelines that you list the missions before the event.

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Much agreed that TAG mercs should be available for scenarios that deny full OP to sectorials without TAGs. They could even include that directly in those scenarios/missions: that a sectorial with no TAGs can purchase a mercenary TAG for use in that specific mission. That would prevent use of merc TAGs potentially ending up in all other missions, if that's a thing they are worried about (which would be silly as well).

I'll also point out that the Soldiers of Fortune extra also helps mitigate this issue. Of course it is -also- a giant Pandora's Box of terribly-powerful combos (cough Pan O Yuan Yuans cough).

 

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